The story behind Papa Del's pizza

#1
The Draft And The Deep-dish Delight



What’s in a Papa Del’s pizza? A famished campus, a floundering student and a failing fraternity are the unlikely ingredients of this culinary icon, a favorite among alumni and one of the most famous brands ever to come out of the University of Illinois campus.

Each week, Papa Del’s sends its pizzas to points nationwide; indeed, in summer 2010, 76 members of the San Francisco Bay Area Illini Club dined on 19 pizzas shipped to them cross-country for a trip down Memory Lane. It’s been rumored that the pie has smuggled its way into Japan, Europe and Asia, and it’s commonplace to find alumni within a 50-mile radius of C-U jettisoning their plans to visit the Green Street eatery and yield to their jonesin’.

While the first Papa Del Pizza restaurant opened in 1970 at the corner of Wright and Healey streets in Campustown, the story of how it got there really begins in the spring of ’68 when the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity needed at least 20 new pledges in order to survive.

http://www.uiaa.org/illinois/news/blog/index.asp?id=429
 
#3
When you are old like me, you still think of the Green Street location as "new"!

Are there any Garcia's locations left in C-U?
 
#4
Woodridge, IL
When you are old like me, you still think of the Green Street location as "new"!

Are there any Garcia's locations left in C-U?
I think they had a spot inside the 4th and Springfield County Market when it opened up, although I might've just imagined it.
 
#5
I guess I'm just a weirdo, but I wasn't crazy about Papa Del's. Don't get me wrong, it was good pizza, but nothing life changing where I would have it shipped to me. I miss Antonio's more than anything. For those who don't know, it opened up around 2004 near Brothers. They have pizza by the slice, and they have a bunch of specialty pizzas (buffalo chicken and blue cheese, etc). I loved Antonio's. I haven't been back since 2007. Does anyone know if it's still there?
 
#7
I remember Sundays in the fall, living just off campus at 1st & Chalmers. One of my roommates and I would bet on NFL games. If we won we'd get Papa Del's delivered, paid with the winnings. If we lost...we'd still get Papa Del's

Last time I was back in CU for football, we took about 10 pizzas postgame to a friend's house in Effingham. As good as I remembered, but not as hot :)
 
#8
Orange Krush Class of 2013
Stanford, CA
I guess I'm just a weirdo, but I wasn't crazy about Papa Del's. Don't get me wrong, it was good pizza, but nothing life changing where I would have it shipped to me. I miss Antonio's more than anything. For those who don't know, it opened up around 2004 near Brothers. They have pizza by the slice, and they have a bunch of specialty pizzas (buffalo chicken and blue cheese, etc). I loved Antonio's. I haven't been back since 2007. Does anyone know if it's still there?
It's there, but it was closed the entire 2011-2012 schoolyear, so I'm not sure what's going on. I miss it too, the chicken bacon ranch pizza is always a solid lunch.
 
#9
East Central IL
I guess I'm just a weirdo, but I wasn't crazy about Papa Del's. Don't get me wrong, it was good pizza, but nothing life changing where I would have it shipped to me.
I hear that. When it comes to deep dish, I'm a Gino's East person. Never found anything mind-blowing about Del's.
 
#10
Houston, Texas
When you are old like me, you still think of the Green Street location as "new"!

Are there any Garcia's locations left in C-U?
I think there is one on Green right around 2nd. 108 East Green as per the internet.
 
#13
Tiny Illini
The basement of the Alamo
Let me tell you, after living in San Antonio for almost two years, there are only two things this city needs that would make it absolutely perfect:
1. Major League Baseball
2. REAL Chicago style pizza

I miss Papa Del's and Lou Malnati's. Thankfully they both deliver....with a hefty shipping fee, LOL.
 
#14
The camera never lies
Champaign
Let me tell you, after living in San Antonio for almost two years, there are only two things this city needs that would make it absolutely perfect:
1. Major League Baseball
2. REAL Chicago style pizza

I miss Papa Del's and Lou Malnati's. Thankfully they both deliver....with a hefty shipping fee, LOL.
Along the Riverwalk near the Marriott there is a really good pizza place. By the pie or by the slice, it was really good. Name ????
 
#15
Tiny Illini
The basement of the Alamo
Along the Riverwalk near the Marriott there is a really good pizza place. By the pie or by the slice, it was really good. Name ????
Deep dish? Hmm.....

And there's plenty of good thin crust pizza here. But there are only two "Chicago style" pizzerias here: Chicago's (near the Medical Center) and Kennedy's (on the west side). Chicago's was very disappointing and we haven't made it to Kennedy's yet but Chicagoans tell me that my instincts are right and something is just a little off.

I mean, at this point I'd even take an Uno's or a Giordano's, LOL.
 
#16
Orange Krush Class of 2013
Stanford, CA
Deep dish? Hmm.....

And there's plenty of good thin crust pizza here. But there are only two "Chicago style" pizzerias here: Chicago's (near the Medical Center) and Kennedy's (on the west side). Chicago's was very disappointing and we haven't made it to Kennedy's yet but Chicagoans tell me that my instincts are right and something is just a little off.

I mean, at this point I'd even take an Uno's or a Giordano's, LOL.
I'll trade you a pizza from Del's for a place near the riverwalk :thumb: love it down there.
 
#17
Super Lurker
Danville, IL
Are there any Garcia's locations left in C-U?
If on campus you can get some from inside the County Market on Springfield (Basically frozen pieces that they heat up... yet they taste the same). There is one on Mattis I believe as well (already mentioned). Place has gone down hill.

As for Papa Del's, I picked up a pizza on the way home from a game last year and had the flu the same night. Unfortunately, I don't think I will ever be able to eat it again. Not my favorite pizza, but I did enjoy it. However for the foreseeable future....:hand:
 
#18
East Central IL
Deep dish? Hmm.....

And there's plenty of good thin crust pizza here. But there are only two "Chicago style" pizzerias here: Chicago's (near the Medical Center) and Kennedy's (on the west side). Chicago's was very disappointing and we haven't made it to Kennedy's yet but Chicagoans tell me that my instincts are right and something is just a little off.

I mean, at this point I'd even take an Uno's or a Giordano's, LOL.
There's a pizza place that claims to be Chicago-style deep dish out where my parents live in the northwest. It's just not the same. Whatever is in the air/water in Chicago that makes it better there than everywhere else, I don't know.

If I had the 1 - 2 million needed to open a Gino's East franchise in Champaign (and the knowledge/background necessary to run a restaurant), I'd give it some very serious consideration.
 
#19
Woodridge, IL
It's there, but it was closed the entire 2011-2012 schoolyear, so I'm not sure what's going on. I miss it too, the chicken bacon ranch pizza is always a solid lunch.
You ate Antonio's sober? :eek: :laugh:

I LOVED Papa Del's in my visits to campus prior to attending and during my freshmen year. But once I visited my girlfriend in Chicago-land and had Giordano's, Papa Del's was always slightly disappointing, but still good.
 
#20
Super Lurker
Danville, IL
If I had the 1 - 2 million needed to open a Gino's East franchise in Champaign (and the knowledge/background necessary to run a restaurant), I'd give it some very serious consideration.
If it would help I know at least 100 people in the Danville area that love Gino's pizza. If it means getting a Gino's in Champaign, Ill buy a billboard (with my teaching salary haha).

Everyone is bringing other restaurants up... Amano's in Urbana is another deep-dish establishment that is worth the trip. It is not dine in and it is not in the best looking building but the owners are nice and the pizza is delicious. I prefer it to Papa Del's
 
#21
Orange Krush Class of 2013
Stanford, CA
You ate Antonio's sober? :eek: :laugh:

I LOVED Papa Del's in my visits to campus prior to attending and during my freshmen year. But once I visited my girlfriend in Chicago-land and had Giordano's, Papa Del's was always slightly disappointing, but still good.
I went to high school on campus too, we used to go down and get Antonio's for lunch or sometimes before basketball when we had an hour to kill before practice! It was good stuff, even sober :thumb:
 
#23
East Central IL
If it would help I know at least 100 people in the Danville area that love Gino's pizza. If it means getting a Gino's in Champaign, Ill buy a billboard (with my teaching salary haha).

Everyone is bringing other restaurants up... Amano's in Urbana is another deep-dish establishment that is worth the trip. It is not dine in and it is not in the best looking building but the owners are nice and the pizza is delicious. I prefer it to Papa Del's
I'm also a teacher, so I feel the pain there. :) Maybe we can get the teacher unions to financially back it...
 
#25
I guess I'm just a weirdo, but I wasn't crazy about Papa Del's. Don't get me wrong, it was good pizza, but nothing life changing where I would have it shipped to me. I miss Antonio's more than anything. For those who don't know, it opened up around 2004 near Brothers. They have pizza by the slice, and they have a bunch of specialty pizzas (buffalo chicken and blue cheese, etc). I loved Antonio's. I haven't been back since 2007. Does anyone know if it's still there?
Well it still seems like they have the equipment and furniture inside, but the outside looked like it was abandoned...I don't know what's going on with Antonios, but it's not looking good.